“Laila, is he breathing? What’s Eli doing?”
“He’s red mommy.”
“Is he breathing?”
I look at Laila in my rearview mirror.
“No,” she says.
I whip off the road and into a parking lot, unbuckle and twist my spine around to get to my son in that damn rear-facing car seat that keeps me from seeing his face. I grab Eli’s hand.
Yes, he is breathing. He’s breathing and cheeky and just fine.
“Laila, don’t do that to mommy. Were you telling a joke?”
“No mommy. He was red.”
My son coughs. Not all the time, but on occasion he gets sick and starts coughing. His coughs with this latest bout of crud now are hardly deep. He’s definitely had worse. This cough almost sounds like he’s inhaled a little dust. What’s different is that he coughs in little fits, now and again. Maybe they go on for 10 seconds, maybe 30. He lets ’em fly and the end seems to take forever. This has been going on in the last week or two.
My mom panic lives in a little house between love and insanity. My son’s deadly disease means it has been lifting weights, drinking protein shakes and taking the ‘roids. It lays in wait at home until it busts out in a roid-fueled fury. Then I stuff it back inside.
At 22 months Eli almost never coughs. And, when he does, it’s not my habit to fear the worst. This go-round was different because I couldn’t see his face.
A few weeks back he got a sinus infection. He was on Amoxicillin for almost two weeks when he began to cough. That didn’t make sense, so his doctor put him on something stronger, the antibiotic Augmentin. When it’s all done he’ll have been on antibiotics for about a month. He’s on his vest a lot. In fact, yesterday the thing blew out. It is patched up with duct tape. Note: Order new vest. At 90 minutes a day in recent weeks he’s had just about enough of that thing. Can’t say that I blame him. We try to make it fun with cartoons and snacks and play.
Eli is chubby and happy and boisterous. He throws around his growing body. By that I mean, he body slams mommy out of nowhere. Then he cuddles with me. He likes to run and smile and laugh. He likes to speak. He may not be speaking our language altogether but he’s saying something. On occasion an English word slips into his dialogue.
“Mine,” he will say with a pout. “MINE!”
That one he learned in St. Louis, where we visited with aunties and uncles and Grandma and Grandpa and six little cousins, hence, his practice with “Mine!”
We taught him yesterday to “shake his booty,” which for him entails deep knee bends.
We were in the minivan in that moment where the nonsensical thought entered my head, that one where my son had coughed for 10 seconds and therefore, obviously, had also stopped breathing.
I grabbed my son’s hand and the thought left as fast as it had appeared, and Eli is fine. We are all just fine.
I got a sinus infection earlier in the month and then I caught strep throat, which was stupid. What am I, 7? With the strep, I couldn’t think, or work, or write, or take care of anyone but myself. I banished everyone from my room and laid in a lump. Strep stinks but it isn’t as bad as a family strep outbreak. I could bear the lonesome quarantine. The house went to hell. The laundry? Don’t ask. That being said, Mark took over all key parental duties so I could rest. Nanny filled in to help me stay in isolation, and this week I feel much, much better.
I would like to write a little bit more here! We got sick and busy and I didn’t have the time. I could feel that the writing was missing, because Eli got just a little sick and I got so sad and tense. My best two outlets for stress — writing and exercise — fell by the wayside. Other best Malbec doesn’t go well with a sore throat.
We’re all patched up now and I hope to get back into the swing.
We made and dropped off at the CF Foundation office a little basket for Eli for this year’s fundraising gala. The theme was BBQ, something a little manly from buddy boy. It was a pleasure to chat with the ladies of the Sooner office.
So many people want to find a cure and help little Eli and all his CF buddies. It gives us so much hope.
Mark and I can’t make the fundraiser this year.
While I hate to miss that event, it’s really OK, because my sister Emily is having a baby!
Laila and I are traveling to her shower over the weekend and are very excited to see everyone.
My sisters last came down to the Southern plains for my birthday. We stayed at cabins near a wildlife refuge. Laila called them cabinets and now believes going to see her ‘cabinet aunties’ means we are going far away to a new cabinet.
We are already planning our outfits and hope to experience some good Midwestern layering weather.